Octagon Oracles: Can Preston Parsons Bring The ‘Pressure’ To The UFC?

Preston Parsons walks away from a grounded opponent after the referee stopped the fight. Preston "Pressure" Parsons will make his UFC debut on Saturday night. Photo Credit: Combat Night / Youtube

Many UFC newcomers find their way into the promotion through odd circumstances. Many know that was the case for Kris Moutinho, who gained fame last week after his tough fight against Sean O’Malley. This week, odd circumstances strike again.

Preston Parsons (9-2) will make his UFC debut on Saturday night against Daniel Rodriguez, just a week after their pairing was first reported. He is replacing Abubakar Nurmagomedov, who had to withdraw from the card due to injury.

Parsons, 26, enters the UFC after many years on the regional scene. He has proven to be an explosive fighter, having never gone to decision in all 11 pro appearances. His UFC call-up comes after an exception recent few years, scoring four consecutive submission wins in regional promotion “Combat Night Pro,” including a victory from just last month.

How will Parsons do on the big stage? Can he live up to the nickname “Pressure?” The Octagon Oracles crew made their assessments before his debut on Saturday.

Zac Herbison

Grade: B-
With a surprisingly complete game for a 26 year old, Preston “Pressure” Parsons earns his nickname. His high-volume boxing keeps his opponent uncomfortable. Parsons hits hard, throws in combinations, and will mix in feints and uncommitted jabs to draw out his opponent’s counter, only to answer with several of his own. Once they’re drawn into a boxing match with him, Parsons begins moving his head, looking for a punch to duck under to take them down. He also likes to use a step-in knee or elbow to enter the clinch. On the ground, Parsons is active with his submission attempts. If stalled in the clinch, Parsons will throw strikes to whatever target is available to him, including knees to the leg or butt. I always applaud fighters for taking advantage of stalled positions this way – it’s essentially free damage, and pressures your opponent to try to change the position.

Parsons is 9-2, and has fought a decent level of competition, including Mike Perry and Ignacio Bahomondes (he was both fighters’ 3rd pro fight). His last five opponents had a combined record of 50-36 at the time that he fought them – while they weren’t future UFC champions, they had quite a bit of experience between them.

Parsons still has a lot of developing to do. Up until his recent second round armbar, he’d never left the first round in his pro career. It’ll be interesting to see how his cardio fares. His defense hasn’t been tested the way it will be in the UFC, either – Parsons seems used to his offense shutting his opponent down, which he won’t be able to rely on anymore. Still, there’s a lot to be excited for.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
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A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
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Title Contender
Champion

Vince Rodemer

Grade: B-
Parsons is a kill-or-be-killed kind of guy that will be involved in some exciting fights. He has finished all nine of his wins and has been finished in both of his losses. He’s also fought some tough guys in UFC fighters Mike Perry (14-8) and Ignacio Bahamondes (11-4). He fought Perry as a 19-year-old and was knocked out, and he finished Bahamondes with an armbar as a 20-year-old. His other loss came when he met his Jiu-Jitsu match in Valdir Araujo (18-9). Parsons seems to hang with the better guys and beats the guys he should beat. Against Araujo, he kind of hung back and let Araujo dictate the pace. I watched another of his fights against Socrates Pierre (12-6) and he immediately shoots, gets him down and submits him. He’s at his best when he lives up to his “pressure” nickname and applies that pressure. He’s still only 26-years-old though. I think he’s a guy that’s going to be a 50-50 fighter in the UFC.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
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Title Contender
Champion

Kristen King

Grade: B-
Parsons was one of those fighters that I believed would eventually get his shot in the UFC, so I am very happy to see it finally happen. The 26-year-old welterweight is fighting out of Jacksonville Beach, Florida is making his promotional debut on short-notice against a solid UFC veteran and “Contender Series” alum in Daniel Rodriguez. The fight itself is interesting, but I want to get into what we can expect from Parsons when he enters the Octagon.

If you happen to take a look at his professional record, then it is obvious what stands out. All of his wins have come by way of submission and that is because Parsons is an absolute killer on the ground. His wrestling is incredible and his jiu-jitsu is slick, which makes for some truly exciting moves once he is able to get his opponent down. He is also super creative, going from a rear-naked choke attempt to a twister attempt in a matter of seconds in one of his most recent fights. His striking has improved over the years and continues to, so he is about as complete as any fighter would want to be.

When it comes to the fight against Rodriguez, I believe Parsons will do what he is known for and try to get the fight to the ground. However, this may be tough to do considering Rodriguez has some decent takedown defense. Regardless of how his fight with Rodriguez goes, I think Parsons sticks around and earns some bonuses throughout his UFC career.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
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Title Contender
Champion

Zain Bando

Grade: C
At only 26-years-old, Preston Parsons is one of Florida’s best prospects. All nine of his wins have come by submission, and his last loss was over five years ago. Having just fought last month, Parsons should be more than ready for the big stage. However, until I see more of his striking game, it’s hard for me to visualize him being successful in a stacked welterweight division. He’ll have to give it his all if he wants to knock off a gritty veteran in Daniel Rodriguez.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
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Title Contender
Champion

James Colwell

Grade: B-
Parsons is a high-level grappler who has spent the last few years tapping out an array of opponents for Florida-based promotion Combat Night Pro. He’s won every one of his victories by submission, with one guillotine interspersed among an even 4-4 split of armbars and rear naked chokes. His competition there has mostly been your typical regional-circuit veterans, but he did face current UFC fighters Mike Perry and Ignacio Bahamondes back in 2015 and 2016 when they were getting their start as pro’s.

If he can manage to pull off a couple slick submissions early in his UFC career he could easily become a real threat. Unfortunately, his striking both on the feet and when in top position is pretty rudimentary and I could see him getting picked apart on the feet by opponents with good movement and distance management. He’s a good athlete for the regional circuit but he’s not going to overwhelm anyone in the UFC with either his speed or his strength, though his long flexible limbs and active hips will always be an asset. He’s the type of prospect that’s worth taking a gamble on, as there’s always the chance that his grappling will be elite enough to hide his deficiencies in the short term, and at 26-years-old he’s still got plenty of room to grow.

I expected him to reach the UFC one day, but I thought they might wait a few more fights to give him a chance to smooth some of those rough edges in a lower-stakes environment. Unfortunately for Parsons, he gets a very tough matchup for his short-notice debut, as Daniel Rodriguez is my #27 welterweight in the world and is exactly the sort of striker that I could see presenting a problem for Parsons. However, if he manages to take the fight to the floor, he’s always a chance to end it at any second.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
Top 10
Top 5
Title Contender
Champion